Today has been a good day... You woke up before the sun was up, went straight to the gym and had a super-hero style workout. You downed a protein shake and got to the office with time to spare. You also packed a super healthy lunch and are on course to drink the prescribed three liters of water by day's end. Oh, did I mention you’re also having a fabulous hair day? Yes, today is a good day...that is, until three o’clock (also known in my world as “cravings o’clock) rolls around. After a day of discipline, restraint and motivation, all the positive progress turns to mush. Sugary, carby, deliciously bad for you mush that you can’t wait to devour. Cravings suck. And they happen to the best of us. Here are a few easy solutions to control those devilish temptations.
1. Tea Time
You crave something sweet, warm and comforting, right? Well, instead of reaching for that delicious danish in the staff room, how about substituting it for a cup of tea? It checks off all the aforementioned boxes without the countless calories and endless guilt. Whether it’s fruity, minty, mystic, health-boosting or spicy, just adding a little stevia and maybe even a few drops of almond or coconut milk to the mix can make a cup of tea seem straight-up indulgent; warding off temptation and keeping you satisfied until the moment passes.
2. A Distraction Plan
So many things can be mistaken for hunger: dehydration, boredom, restlessness and even habit. You may think you need a sweet snack, but sometimes you just need to find something to keep your mouth busy. Assuming you don’t have anyone close by to make out with, chewing on a piece of gum for a few minutes is a great mindless mouth pastime. It tastes good and distracts your mouth as the craving climaxes. When it comes to gum game, Pur is the healthiest choice on the market; most notably it is an aspartame-free product. Opting out of sugar and in favour of aspartame might seem like a good idea, but studies actually show that consuming aspartame can make a sweet tooth worse!
3. Sugar-Control Supplements
There isn’t enough space in this article to sing the praises of B vitamins. For the purposes of downplaying our desert desires, all you need to know is B complex supplements help in weight loss, energy supply and, yes, sugar cravings. B is for “Boo-yeah!”
Another supplement shown to have positive affects on hampering our hunger is chromium. It helps with metabolizing glucose and has been shown to stabilize sugar levels, which in turn prevents a mid-day candy craving crash.
4. Give In, In the Right Way (Here are 4!)
Sometimes all the gum, tea and sugar stabilizing supplements in the world can’t contain the power of the craving. And, that’s OK! Giving in to your food fantasies just a little is often the best way to go. Often when we deny ourselves a specific food, we just end up eating more of it in the end and beating ourselves up for it later - not the best game plan if you ask me. Discovering healthy ways to satisfy our palates is key to making this work. Well, that and portion control! Here are a few health conscious ideas to suit every taste.
For the chocoholic: keep a dark chocolate snack (like these chocolate covered almonds) in the freezer and have two or three when you feel the craving coming on. The freezer gives it a satisfying crunch and the dark chocolate option is packed with way more nutrients than its milk chocolate counterpart.
If it’s ice cream you covet, the freezer is your friend! Try freezing some fresh grapes and grabbing a handful of the icy flavourful fruit when you’re feeling like something cold and sweet. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s incredibly satisfying. Another fruit fabulous for freezing is the blueberry. Try covering the berries in some yogurt before you throw them in the ice box and you’ve got a super-sweet, superfood ready to be devoured!
If you’re a salty person, try roasting some chickpeas or kale on a baking sheet with a little salt and olive oil. These treats give the perception of indulging in chips or popcorn in low-cal, nutrient dense packages.
Here’s to an amazing day – cravings ‘n’ all!